The Analects

Topics: Truth, Analects, Confucius Pages: 2 (629 words) Published: April 13, 2014
In the Analects, there are many reoccurring themes. The overall theme of the last half of the book seemed to be about being a gentleman. There are dozens of examples of Confucius’s disciples asking how to become a gentleman or what a gentleman would do, and Confucius himself uses hypothetical gentleman in order to show examples of morality. While not the overall theme, I think there were several other reoccurring themes that played into the main theme of the book. In book XVII chapter 23, Confucius says that a gentleman, more than anything, should have morality. I think most of the themes of the book can be grouped in morality, but it is not as blatantly emphasized as much as being a gentleman even though they do go hand in hand. Speaking the truth to any man is a major theme pushed by Confucius throughout the last half of the analects. Book XI chapter 4, chapter 21, book XIV chapter 21, and book XV chapter 8 all have to do with telling the truth to men even though it is difficult. Confucius says in book XI chapter 4, “Hui is no help to me at all. He is pleased with everything I say.” In another chapter, the master tells his disciples that not speaking the truth to a man that needs to hear it is a waste to that man. I think this idea ties in with being a gentleman as a gentleman is not afraid to tell what he believes is right. Benevolence is reference many, many times by both Confucius and his followers throughout the Analects. In book XII alone, benevolence is mentioned in a quarter of all the chapters. Gentlemen are considered benevolent so this fits in well with the overall theme of the book, but I did notice a little bit of a contradiction. Throughout the analects, Confucius seems to be concerned for the well-being of the people of China which makes sense because he pushes benevolence so heavily, but, in book XVII chapter 25, he states that women and men born of lower rank will become hard to deal with if you treat them too well. I think this can be seen...
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